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Dining on borrowed time

LRT station will claim House of Chan site once construction starts
By Omar Mosleh

February 8, 2012

Neighbourhoods: Allenby / Cedarvale

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Fans of midtown staple House of Chan will likely soon see their last days of chowing down chow mein at the restaurant’s current location.

The property will need to be razed to make way for the planned Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT’s Bathurst Station.

The preliminary design for the station’s secondary entrance and substation location show that House of Chan, along with its neighbours Halleluia Restaurant and Israel’s the Judaica Centre will need to be torn down.

“They have been identified as being needed at this stage of the design process,” said Anna Pace, a director in the TTC’s transit expansion department. “We are continuing to work on this design, so in all likelihood they will be (needed).”

According to the design report, the land is necessary because shafts must connect to the end of the station box, which is located directly under the properties.

Pace said the TTC would likely need the land early on in the design process, but with work for the light rail line starting at Black Creek Drive now, that may be still be a ways off.

“There may be cases where we won’t need the property for a while, so perhaps the business can stay there for some time,” she said.

Established in the 1950s, House of Chan has transformed from a popular Chinese eatery to a high-end steakhouse over the years.

Many area residents expressed surprise and disappointment when they heard the restaurant would be closing or potentially moving.

“I definitely feel like I’m losing something special,” said Sarah Librach, who considered the restaurant one of the best in Toronto. “It’s a historic piece that’s leaving us.”

Bathurst street resident Nigel Chin said he’s lived in the area most of his life and has always remembered House of Chan as part of the neighbourhood.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve known this place,” he said. “It’s an icon.”  

Residents can likely expect other major changes at that stretch of Eglinton Avenue. For the station’s main entrance, the TTC will also need to acquire land at the northeast corner of Bathurst Street and Eglinton Avenue West, where a retail plaza now sits. The plaza currently houses a donut shop, convenience store, post office and print shop.

Pace said discussions between the TTC and property owners may be underway, but she was not aware of the status of talks at this point.  

The timeline for when the property owners have to leave depends on the negotiations.

The owner of House of Chan could not be reached for comment, and the restaurant appeared to be closed during a Tuesday afternoon visit in late January. The two other units slated for acquisition both had “For sale” signs on their windows, whereas House of Chan did not.

According to a sign on the window, Israel’s the Judaica Centre’s last day of operation was Jan. 22. They are moving across the street to 875 Eglinton Ave. W.

At press time it was unknown whether House of Chan was closing down or moving locations, but at least one resident said he’ll make sure to visit the restaurant before it’s gone for good.

“I never realized these other two stores here, but House of Chan was definitely one of those places that I always talked about going but just never got a chance to,” Chin said. “I guess I should try it now.”

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